When God created man and woman He gave them the responsibility to manage and develop God's creation. This is known as the dominion or cultural mandate found in Genesis 1: 28.
The Cultural Mandate
And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth” (Genesis 1: 28).
The Great Commission was the last command given by Jesus to his disciples as he returned to the Father and to his enthronement in heaven as King of kings and Lord of lords. The command is based on Mathew 28: 16 - 20.
The Great Commission
All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Mathew 28: 16 - 20).
Some Christians believe that after the fall into sin by humans that God cancelled the cultural mandate. He has not canceled it. God seeks to redeem both man and the creation as a part of the Great Commission, which includes the cultural mandate. The Lordship of Christ is not limited to one's personal salvation and spiritual life. Jesus is Lord of all his creation as well as every facet of our lives. Any gospel message that limits the extent of Christ's Lordship is a false gospel. This is what I call the half-way gospel. Renowned Christian philosopher Francis Schaeffer described this form of the gospel as a "false pietism." In many ways it parallels the view of the Gnostics that the Christian life only deals with the spiritual dimensions of this life and not the material world. The result of this false gospel has been that Christian leaders handed the cultural leadership of the world to the pagans. This has resulted in the current chaos we see in the world today.
Christianity and its relationship to culture can be a very controversial topic. Especially in the current climate of privatized Christianity that has captivated so many of the evangelical and conservative churches. Many church leaders see the mission of the church solely as the preaching of the Gospel and serving the sacraments. However, this reduces Christianity down to an irrelevant form of religious piety that limits the total Lordship of Jesus in all areas of life. We are called by Christ to be both the light and salt of the world. This means we share the light of the gospel. But at the same time we are to act as the salt influence within cultures that keeps the world from degenerating into total corruption.
Christianity is not a passive faith. Jesus stated in the Great Commission that all authority in both heaven and "on the earth" has been given to him. Therefore, he is sovereign over all areas of our lives, as well as the Lord of the earth. After Christ was resurrected he regained all authority in both the heavens and on earth by defeating Satan at the cross. We have now been authorized by God to disciple the nations and extend his Lordship into all the earth until He returns. A good reference on this is Joseph Boots work "The Mission of God."
Following in this section are articles and references that discuss this topic in more depth. Scroll down to access them by placing your cursor on the dark triangle next to the title. (> Cultural Redemption)
“This book is an intellectual masterpiece; it is first rate scholarship – a theological and historical gem… it is the theological apologetic to act out God’s truth in every sphere of life in 21st century Britain and beyond… This book is changing lives.” Andrea Williams. CEO, Christian Concern and the Christian Legal Centre. “The most comprehensive and cogent argument for the perpetuity of God’s moral law as it relates to civil legislation written in 40 years… A breath of fresh air amid both the hermeneutical nihilism and pietism retreatism in the modern church… An intellectual for to be reckoned with.” Dr P. Andrew Sandlin, President Center for Cultural Leadership, California “Bold, provocative and illuminating, The Mission of God is a potential game changer for modern societies. It challenges the secular modus vivendi and summons the Christian church to applied biblical radicalism.” Jonathan Burnside, Professor of Biblical Law at the University of Bristol